"Despite all the talk about newspapers being a dying business, plenty of them are profitable." Who's in the red, who's in the black, in Advertising Age.

8 Responses to “Are any newspapers not bleeding cash?”

  1. I get the New York Times delivered to my front door in New England 5 days a week, and gladly pay for it. I’ve been reading it in dead tree form since before there was an alternative and I’m not going to stop now.

    I’m young enough to know better (early 30′s) I know it isn’t going to last, and I know it’s realistically a luxury. But I’m going to ride this habit out until I don’t have a choice; digital simply cannot compete.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If it weren’t for the crossword, would anyone buy it?

      • The crossword is a big part of it, yes. But it’s equally important that I’m provided with information that I didn’t necessarily know I cared about. It’s much easier for me to parse that and delve deeper into articles (or pass them over) in a newspaper than online.

        Practice probably helps.

  2. Punchcard says:

    Sure profitable and in the black. Metaphorically however, if you are selling off major organs every month to keep in the black, I’m still gonna say you are bleeding pretty bad.

    • Eric Chapman says:

      Most newspapers (okay, most newspapers’ owner corporations) are publicly traded, and find themselves in the position of having to sell off their major organs, as you put it, to keep shareholders from freaking out about low profit reports. 

      In other words, they’re profitable without doing all of that, but not enough to keep their share holders from running for the hills and pulling their money out. 

      Before newspapers had a format-competitor like the internet, being publicly traded seemed like a no-brainer. Now the business model can’t support the wants of the average indifferent share holder.

      • Shane Simmons says:

        “In other words, they’re profitable without doing all of that, but not enough to keep their share holders from running for the hills and pulling their money out.”

        Exactly right.  In the black, or even profitable, isn’t enough for shareholders.  It has to be a certain percentage of growth, and fwiw has to be somewhat predictable growth.

        It’s a stupid system, but it’s the best thing we’ve come up with so far.

        • jimmoffet says:

          It’s not actually the best thing we (humans) have come up with, far from it. 

          Running non-profit, publicly-funded news agencies works much better in modern developed countries.

          The criticism is always that government funded media will inevitably result in some kind of Stalinism, but the reality is that modern, developed nations with strong public media generally have less bias and transparency issues than our “free” market media.

      • TacoChuck says:

         Also, a good number of media groups are subject to the same vulture capital business and job killing tactics as manufacturing businesses.

        Load up on debt to buy a company, load up on more debt to pay off the vulture capitalists who engineered the deal, then cut everything to bone to milk as much profit as possible out of it until you are forced to sell off the assets to ring the last drops of cash out of it you can.

        Rinse, repeat.

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